Oh, Baby: Family + Fatherhood
I'm both excited and terrified at the same damn time.
I think the idea of being a father myself has always scared me because I don't think I could even come close to doing the job my Dad did. No title has ever given me more joy than Uncle. It's one that I wear with honor and take very seriously. Today, I have 8 nieces and nephews - an even split. Additionally, I have more honoraries than I can count through close friends. Being a super surrogate figure was always easy because up until now it's always included duties that had definitive starting and ending hours of operation. I've always enjoyed the luxury of having the time to regroup in-between visits with my favorite little people. But to me, being a father the way I understand it, the way I experienced it and the way I've always envisioned means a level of selflessness I can't even begin to comprehend in application.
My Dad was and still is the most selfless person I know. I can't name any friends my father had, any hobbies he took up or things he did for himself when I was a kid. He worked hard and he came home to spend time with his family. I can't recall a time in my life that my father was not an earshot or phone call away.If I called him right now with an issue where I needed his assistance he'd be right there. He has the uncanny ability to give the people he loves everything he's got without any egocentric thoughts to accompany it.
My father introduced me to my faith in God. He taught me how to shave. He stayed up with me every year of grade school the night before science projects were due because I always procrastinated. He took me to all my practices, rehearsals and plays. He sat in the audience, watched and cheered me on. He taught me to respect women (something he did not play about; ask my older brother Ryan). He drove me to dances and fixed my ties. He sat in the driver's seat of his car and gave me direction as I learned how to drive. He spanked me out of love and not anger. He allowed and paid for me to go Morehouse. He gave me solid advice on my wedding day. He called me just a few days ago to check on me and tell me how much he loves and is proud of me.
My father is literally the best man I know.
As I sit here at my computer, a little less than six months away from fatherhood myself, I think of my own. Everything he sacrificed. How hard he worked. All the wisdom he imparted. Everything he did so that I could be the best version of myself today.
Of every emotion that I'm feeling, the most outstanding is gratitude.
This is an open letter to my father, Eddie, of thanks. Thank you, Daddy. For everything you have been, for everything you are and everything you'll continue to be to me. If I am even half the father you were, I know I'll be great at this.